(Washington, D.C.) – On Friday, the White House announced the nomination of conservative physician and former Bush official Scott Gottlieb as commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The National Women’s Health Network has strong concerns that if Dr. Gottlieb is confirmed, he will move to fulfill Donald Trump’s promise to deregulate the FDA and rush unproven drugs and devices to market. A strong regulatory process with robust and diverse clinical trials and evidence-based approval is critical to women’s health.
In February, the NWHN submitted a petition to the White House signed by our members urging the president to nominate an FDA commissioner with a demonstrated background in science and respect for women’s health. Our members stated “We rely on the FDA to make evidence-based decisions about the food, drug, and medical products we use every day. We don’t want drugs and devices rushed to market that have never been proven safe or effective. And we don’t want an FDA led by a commissioner who puts industry profits above women’s health.”
We believe that Dr. Gottlieb fails this test. While he is more qualified than some of the other candidates reportedly considered by the president, his close ties to the pharmaceutical industry suggest he will be unlikely to put patient health first. He has served on five pharmaceutical companies’ boards and received at least $413,000 from various pharmaceutical companies, raising concerns about conflicts of interest. Despite false claims from the president, the FDA is already the fastest drug regulation agency in the world. Gottlieb’s nomination signals to the pharmaceutical industry that they can further game the system. We need an FDA commissioner who will maintain the FDA’s high evidentiary standards for medical product safety and efficacy.
The National Women’s Health Network is supported by our members and by choice we do not accept financial support from drug companies or medical device manufacturers. We bring the voices, concerns and needs of women consumers to policy and regulatory tables.